One of the editors of a new climate report from the federal government criticized President Trump administration for releasing the assessment on Black Friday, comparing it to “burning it and burying it in the backyard.”
“They dropped the report on Black Friday, and you know it’s the press who calls releasing anything on a Friday afternoon ‘taking out the trash’ — this was burning it and burying it in the backyard, so it’s one of the worst possible days you could pick,” Andrew Light, former climate change advisor under the Obama administration, told Hill.TV correspondent Jamal Simmons on Tuesday.
“I’m not going to try to ascribe any kind of motivations to anyone in the administration for this but it’s just not the responsible thing to do when you’ve got a report that’s talking about the welfare of Americans,” he continued.
The scientific report was originally set to be released next month. But the National Centers for Environmental Information Technical Support Unit, David Easterling, said the report was moved up due to two upcoming conferences.
Some scientists and environment activists warn that the Trump administration’s timing of the release could potentially bury the report’s dire findings.
The over 1,600-page National Climate Assessment, which is a first of its kind released under the Trump administration, is part of legislation that’s mandated by Congress every four years.
The comprehensive report detailed the effects of global warming on the United States on everything from agriculture and water to infrastructure and the economy.
The Trump administration has repeatedly questioned whether climate change is caused by humans — or whether it is even happening at all. Two days before the reports findings were released Trump doubled down on his skepticism of climate change amid cold temperatures throughout parts of the U.S.
“Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming,” the president tweeted.
Trump also cast doubt on the report following its release, saying he doesn’t “believe” the report about its predictions of economic devastation.
Hundreds of government and external scientists concluded that climate change could cost the U.S. billions of dollars annually within decades if greenhouse gases aren’t dramatically reduced.
Light added that climate change is already having an impact on “almost every sector” of the U.S. economy, warning that America risks a substantial economic hit in the future if the issue is not addressed.
While he said the report is hopeful in some respects when it comes to adaptation measures at a local level, Light concluded that these efforts need to be adopted on a national scale.
“We need to turn back around to dealing with this commonly across the country and not just in certain parts parts of it,” he told Hill.TV.
— Tess Bonn